In the stories “The Rocking Horse Winner” by Lawrence and “The Destructors” by Greene, there are various aspects to consider. The two stories use similar narrative techniques such as characterization, and imagery to attract the reader’s attention. In short story by Greene starts by introducing us to the Wormsley Gang which is a group of boys ranging from nine to about fifteen years living in a tough area of London and spend their summer holidays pulling pranks (Greene, 1954). On the other hand, the short story by Lawrence majors on a boy known as “Paul” who desires to win money to give to the mother by riding his rocking-horse until he gets to the level where he could foretell the horse that will win the coming race (Lawrence, 1977). Although the short stories vary significantly, the message displayed is the same.
Looking at the themes of the two short stories, there exist some similarities. To begin with, both stories are created around the lives of some young boys. For instance, in “The Destructors,” a group of boys referred to as Wormsley gang have a similar view of their surroundings. The groups of boys grew up in the same place and shared the narratives of how their town was destroyed. Also, they challenge one another to attain various tasks. In “The Rocking Horse Winner,” the plot is based on a boy’s thirst for luck and to win the game. Paul knows that his house is constantly about, “there must be more money.” Also, Paul understands that the mother wants more money to solve her desires.
In the short stories, the themes of destruction and creation are displayed through the setting. Both authors use the homes as a symbol for the end of the plot. Greene closes with Thomas’ home destroyed by the gang whereas Lawrence closes with Paul’s mother who finds Paul in the room playing the rocking horse. The desire of Paul to win by riding his toy horse results to his death. Besides, in “The Rocking Horse Winner, the mood is unsettling because the characters are anxious about their home while in “The Destructors” the selfishness of Paul’s mother led to the mood around their home.
The two stories use a different writing approach, which is vital for understanding the purpose of the authors “theme”. Greene’s writing style is open, which makes it easy to read and understand the themes, whereas Lawrence’s writing is closed because of the involvement of more figures of speech such as symbolism and metaphors. For instance, throughout the stories, Greene prepares the reader for a drastic end by suggesting the story that the gangs might not succeed with their plan. However, they succeed with their plan as Mr. Thomas’ house goes down. On the contrary, Lawrence takes time to create the intention of Paul and the attitude of the mother. In the story, the reader is unable to anticipate for the end.
Comparing the emotions and feelings in the two stories, a reader will discover how the characters support the theme of wealth. In the story “The Destructors,” Trevor determines his anger after visiting Mr. Thomas’s home. He goes on to fuel the growing rage of the gang by challenging them to do something about it. The gang wanted to destroy the wealth that Mr. Thomas has starting with his home. On the other hand, in the story “The Rocking Horse Winner,” Paul’s mother is sad because she is unable to get the life she desires. From the story, it is apparent that the husband’s income cannot support the family by meeting their desires. Paul’s mother desire for wealth puts Paul in a situation to look for money to make her happy.
Moreover, in the story by Greene, the theme of love is displayed at the end of the end, whereas in the story “The Destructors, the theme of hatred is displayed. In the story by Lawrence, Paul loves his mother so much, regardless of her selfishness. In the story, Paul commits himself in a bid to fulfill her mother’s greedy expectations. For instance, she dies while playing with his toys. However, in “Destructors,” the boys’ rage and hatred drive them to destroy Mr. Thomas’ house. They did not have any aspect of love despite Mr. Thomas’ greed for more wealth.
In conclusion, though the two stories are different, both displayed the wickedness of materialism. The authors displayed how wealth and selfish ambitions impact the life of people. The greed of the gang culminated to the hatred of Mr. Thomas. It was shown in the destruction of Mr. Thomas’ house. The greed of Paul’s mother makes Paul look for ways of acquiring more money to make the mother happy. Unfortunately, in the end, Paul dies while playing with a horse toy to determine the winner of the race. The impact of being a materialist is displayed in the two stories effectively.
Greene, G. (1954). The destructors. Picture Post.
Lawrence, D. H. (1977). The rocking-horse winner. Learning Corporation of America.